Dauphin County Commissioners announce 2019 cultural diversity essay contest winners

HARRISBURG, PA (August 2, 2019) Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III announced the winners of the county’s 2019 Cultural Diversity Essay Contest. Approximately 400 children age 6 to 18 entered the contest and shared poignant and personal experiences on cultural diversity in their neighborhoods and schools.

This year, students answered the following questions:

  • Age 6 – 10: How does diversity make our world a better place? Draw a picture to support your essay.
  • Age 11 – 14: How are you an advocate for diversity within your community, home, or school?
  • Age 15 – 18:  What steps can you take to create a diversity task force in your school? Who would you select to be members of this group? What types of responsibilities could this group take on?

“I’m impressed by the students’ maturity, open-mindedness and insight every year,” said Hartwick, who oversees the Cultural Celebration Task Force, which sponsors the essay contest. “You are now role models for your schools and communities.”

Three winners were selected from each category. The essay contest winners are as follows:

Ages 6 to 10:

  • First place—Avery Perkins, St. Joan of Arc Catholic School       
  • Second place—Katherine Weigel, Hershey Elementary School
  • Third place—Iziah Lara, Milton Hershey School   

Ages 10 to 14:

  • First place—Maddi Donmoyer, St. Catherine Laboure
  • Second place—Riley Lawler, St. Catherine Laboure
  • Third place—Kyle Peterson, St. Catherine Laboure

Ages 15 to 18:

  • First place—Katharine Fraser, Central Dauphin High School  
  • Second place—Amelia Smeltz, Central Dauphin High School  
  • Third place—Maya Matincheck, Central Dauphin High School

Winners were awarded certificates and prizes donated by the county’s Human Services Department and Cultural Celebration Task Force.

“We have made -- and will continue to make -- diversity a priority,” said Haste. ““The annual essay contest has been a great way to actively engage young people in thinking critically about cultural diversity and fostering understanding and appreciation.”

Serving on the judging panel this year were volunteers with Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services. 

“It’s a joy to recognize these talented students for their outstanding work,” Pries said. “The essays show that, despite our differences, we are one.”